The Budget session of parliament will begin today with strict observance of restrictions for coronavirus. The Union Budget will be presented on February 1. The session, which will continue till the first week of April, is set to be stormy, with the opposition out to corner the government over the contentious farm laws amid the ongoing farmers' protest.
In a first, President Ram Nath Kovind will address members of both houses seated in three locations. But 17 opposition parties have decided to boycott the President's address in solidarity with farmers protesting against the new farm laws, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Thursday.
The Vice-President and chairman of Rajya Sabha Venkaiah Naidu has taken a Covid test with other members. Besides, more than 1,200 officials and staff of the Rajya Sabha secretariat have taken the test for coronavirus. No one has tested positive yet.
This will be the first session of parliament since the monsoon session was cut short due to concerns over Covid. There was no winter session.
Unlike the monsoon session, parliament will not function on weekends this time. The Question Hour, which was scrapped in the monsoon session due to time constraint, has been restored. Private Members' business which usually takes place on Friday afternoons has also made a comeback.
The monsoon session, which started after nearly five months of indefinite adjournment, was concluded eight days ahead of time in September.
In the mandatory Covid tests for parliamentarians before the monsoon session started, 17 members of the Lok Sabha and eight from the Rajya Sabha had tested positive. Over the 10-day session, several others, including Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, tested positive.